Photos: Marc Mallat.

Article: Alex M. Franquet.

Real Mod World invites you all to this exposition while you are on your offices or at home.

Hackney’s Town Hall organized an exhibition to pay tribute to three well known Stamford Hill modernists like Marc Feld, Pete Sugar and Michael Simmonds, who left their mark for posterity.

In fact, at Hackey, you could notice the “elan” and lifestyle of the North London young modernists. They wanted to have a clean living under difficult circumstances. And they did it. “Town” magazine approched them and the rest is history, as they say. They were the first faces without shadows. The first faces who gave some track of where they got their clothes and so much style.

The enclosure housing the exhibition was not very large but you could tell they had gathered the material with passion and with the help of original modernists from North London.

Original photos. Clothes. Videos from that era. Ska 45’s from the “R & B” shop, Stamford Hill’s own Ska shop. The soundtrack to those modernists from 1962 was made of some of that Ska beat. Nowadays, at 260 Stamford Hill, you can see a Top Pizza. Back at the day, you could hear sounds like:

“Love divine” – The Maytals (R&B), “Soulful divine” – The Emotions (Caltone), “Simmer down” – The Wailers (Ska Beat), “Hurry up” – The Maytals (R&B)

In 1959, a Jewish couple, Rita and Benny, opened that shop to sell import records to the Jamaican comunity. By 1963, they issued their own records on the R&B label and others like Ska Beat or Caltone. Even Laurel Aitken had some records issued in England because of the Rita & Benny connection.

Even The Blue Flames & Georgie Fame had to thank Rita and Benny for their first record. In 1984, that shop was closed forever. Today, that old church of ska, rocksteady and reggae, is desecrated every day by selling pizzas.

You could also find contemporany magazines like “Town”, “Nova”, “Honey”… Even Helen Shapiro herself signed the cover of a “Pop Weekly” issue to a fan…

At Hackney you could even find an 1962 original GS Vespa. White and blue was the “in” color at that time.

I was forgettin that… Mark Feld, years later, changed his name. He had some hits with a duo in the late sixties, early 70’s. He wrote the song “London Boys”, about his days as a modernist. Nothing to do with the song with the same name by David Bowie, his close friend.

Marc Feld and David Jones knew each other from their distant days as Dandies among the dustbins in Carnaby Street, from the days of dustbin shopping. While they all were painting the walls of his manager house, David Jones was the first to talk:

- David Jones: “You’re a mod?”.

- Marc Feld: “I’m King Mod and your shoes are crap”.

- David Jones: “Well, you’re short”.

That guy called Mark Feld married a black singer from the Los Angeles zone. Gloria Jones was her name. She recorded a single for Uptown that became one of the greatests hits in pop music, but in the cover done by a somebody called Marc Almond, who used to see Gloria Jones live singing that song before the gigs of his husband in the 70’s.

It seems that Marc Feld became famous… He reached his goal of being different than anyone else. He could have a clean living under difficult circumstances.

Part 2 here.


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